My husband and I sleep in separate bedrooms. Why is my mother-in-law obsessed?

My husband and I have been married for 12 years and we have a 7 year old daughter. We no longer share a bedroom or have sex, but we continue to live together peacefully raising our child. My mother-in-law discovered separate bedrooms when I was out of town: She was helping with our daughter and asking lots of questions, so my daughter told her. Since then, I’ve asked a close friend about our situation – which upsets me. But she never said anything to me. Now, she and my father-in-law are planning a visit and she’s asking many questions about their sleeping arrangements. She even offered to sleep on an air mattress. I told her she was welcome to take our daughter’s room, as always, and our daughter would move into the guest room (just like I did before my husband started sleeping there). Do I have to discuss it with her?

daughter in law

You don’t have to discuss your sleeping arrangements or sex life with anyone. I understand that it was upsetting when you learned that your mother-in-law had questioned your daughter and your friend about you. (The mystery here is why she didn’t simply ask her son about her suspicions.) However, you took care of your daughter. That was nice of her. And her questions about her next visit may reflect a sensitivity to your situation: Is it okay for your husband to come back with you if your daughter takes the room he’s using now?

I will discuss this with your husband and suggest telling your mother-in-law that you sleep in separate bedrooms – not another word. It clears the air about something you kind of already know is common: About 20 percent of married couples sleep in separate rooms. You may be worried. So, reassure her that everything is under control.

Now, you know her better than me. If you think bringing up the subject with her will lead to weird questions, just tell her that you sleep better in separate rooms — which may be true for a host of reasons. Be direct, but set boundaries about your privacy.

I pre-booked a flight from Denver to Aspen so I could pick a seat with a good view. Flight path over the Rocky Mountains. I knew it was going to be exciting and I looked forward to the ride. About halfway through the flight, a passenger asked if I would swap a seat with his young daughter so she could get a better view. She was babbling that her seat wasn’t very good. I politely refused. The family and other passengers gave me dirty looks. Did I do the right thing?


Commercial air travel, as with other forms of shared transportation, is a gritty experience in society—often under shoddy conditions: crowded, cramped, and impersonal. I understand that you reserved your seat early. You had every right to keep it. But in a different vein, I bet you wouldn’t mind letting a little girl enjoy seeing you for 10 minutes. It probably didn’t take that long for you to get bored of it.

I work in a shared office with six people. One of my co-workers has incredibly loud burps, little boy burps all day. Once, I did that seven times in an hour! It’s been going on for months, and I’m not sure how to treat it. But she totally disgusts me, and she’s so rude. what can i do?


Disgust is not a constructive starting point for fixing most problems — though I might feel the same if I were in your office chair. Try rephrasing this problem: It’s as if your colleague has reflux or some other medical condition that you’re not qualified to diagnose.

Talk to your manager about the situation. If there is no manager, talk nicely to your co-worker. She may not know she has a problem or she may think there’s nothing she can do about it, but she probably will if someone convinces her to seek medical attention. So, the question here is: Are you that affectionate person?

I am a retired judge. Like many judicial retirees, I act as ad hoc arbitrator, sometimes on a panel of three. I am now serving on a commission with a retired judge from another state. On conference calls, he refers to himself as Judge Smith and calls me Miss Jones—even after he hears lawyers call me Judge Jones. Should I just let this go, or take it up with him and the agency booking our cases?


To me it seems too early to let this go as it is to report the man to the agency that employs both of you. You are peers and have nothing to fear. to talk! Tell him you want to be called Judge Jones – the same honor you use for him. If he doesn’t, report him. There is probably some degree of sexism in his current behavior, but you won’t know how much there is until you point out his fault directly.

To help with your embarrassing situation, send a question to [email protected] or Philip Galanes on Facebook or @tweet on Twitter.